Legal Question in Family Law in Illinois

I'm the custodial parent, and I have full custody according to my divorce decree. Non-custodial parent get reasonable visitation, no specifics are listed. I have been told before, that you cannot make the other parent exercise his visitation rights if he doesn't want to. In the past 50 days or so, non custodial parent moved 15 mins away from our home, and he has seen his child 3 times during that time. I have been trying to talk to him about working out a parenting plan, but he refuses to work anything out with me. He has recently been away in the army for 5 yrs and is currently out. He has been in and out of our childs life, and our son who is 5 barely knows his father. i think its important that our son has his mother and father so i talk to dad about it and we don't get anything accomplished. He currently has decided that a vacation to the Philippines to go see his wife is more important then his child. I believe our son is being affected by his behavior, he tells me mommy, i dont want to go with daddy, i don't like daddy because daddy doesn't like me. Dad will be away for 37 days. For the best interest of our son, I think he needs stability and his dad is not providing that. He doesn't even want to be involved in his childs health issues and or schooling. What options do i have? Do i just let non custodial parent come and go as he chooses, do i petition him to court, too see if he wants custody rights and to establish a parenting plan or do i just leave it alone? Do i have to stay in contact with him at all times, if he is not exercising his rights now. I just want to get this case taken care of, so me and our son aren't emotionally effected by this anymore.

Asked on 9/10/12, 3:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Sue Roberts-Kurpis, Esq. Law Office of Sue Roberts-Kurpis

It's unfortunate that your ex is unwilling to be a father to your son. However, you cannot make a grown man do something he doesn't want to do. As long as he is paying child support, I strongly suggest that you leave the man alone. He'll come around when he's ready. In the meantime, involve your son in some male-centric activities such as baseball, peewee football, boys club, whatever is available in your area. Have male relatives spend time with him, whatever you can do, you need to understand that the courts will not order the man to see his son.

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Answered on 9/10/12, 4:57 pm

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